our MISSION and HISTORY
The mission of the Takshanuk Watershed Council (TWC) is to provide stewardship of the Chilkat, Chilkoot, and Ferebee River systems. Through restoration, education, research, and community involvement we seek to benefit the natural ecology, economy, and quality of life valued by all residents. Our vision for the Council is to promote the appreciation and sustainability of the healthy, natural ecosystems within the area. Through our initiatives, we attain a better understanding of our watershed’s ecology and use this information to foster good stewardship of the streams, rivers, lakes, and lands.
Haines, Alaska is located at the far northern end of Lynn Canal, the longest and deepest fjord in North America and the terminus of the Inside Passage. The town of Haines is situated on a narrow isthmus of land between the Chilkoot and Chilkat Rivers. The original Tlingit name for the site is Deishu, which means “the end of the trail”. Here there was an overland portage linking the two valleys, and also the start of a trail (now a road) which led up the valley, past a number of Chilkat villages, including Klukwan, and then over the mountains and into the interior of the continent.
The Chilkat and Chilkoot river systems are the Watershed Council’s primary areas of interest. The Council’s name comes from the Takshanuk Mountains, the rugged alpine ridge that separates the two valleys. These watersheds encompass thousands of square miles of pristine natural habitat that supports a primeval abundance of fish and wildlife. Salmon are the keystone organism in the dynamics of this ecosystem, as well as the primary focus of human activities, both cultural and economic. The rivers and lakes produce significant runs of all five species of Pacific salmon, as well as steelhead, cutthroat trout, and Dolly Varden char. These fish support vibrant and economically valuable subsistence, commercial, and sport fisheries. The largest runs of sockeye salmon in all of Southeast Alaska are born from the Chilkat and Chilkoot Rivers, accounting for nearly one third of the region’s total production (ADF&G data).
Interest in forming a local watershed council first surfaced in 2001. In 2003, the Community Watershed Project solicited additional interest and funding to help protect, conserve, and enhance salmon fisheries and habitat, and enabled the Council to formally organize. TWC achieved 501(c)(3) status in March of 2004. TWC’s three flagship strategies—education, research, and restoration--have provided place-based environmental education for both youth and adults, served as a technical resource for the collection and dissemination of scientific data, and rebuilt and restored aquatic habitats that had been degraded by human activity.
HC 60 Box 2008
425 S. Sawmill Rd.
Haines, AK 99827